Today’s homily is for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 2, 2022, and the readings can be found by clicking here. The video of the homily is here.
Today the apostles say to the Lord, Jesus, “Increase our faith.” I’m going to humbly submit that if the only prayer we ever prayed was this one, it would be the only prayer you would ever need. This is the perfect prayer of petition, “Lord Jesus, increase my faith.”
What is faith? We have the profession of faith, articles of faith, teachings of the faith, and George Michaels sings that you gotta have “faith, faith, faith.” In the Catechism, paragraph 142, we read that the invisible God addresses us as friends, and the adequate response to this invitation is faith. And in 143 we read that by faith we completely submit our intellect and will to God. This is called the obedience of faith. In Romans 4:3 Abraham believed God, was strong in his faith, and became the father of all who believe.” But what is faith?
Mostly when I ask, “What is faith?” I hear things like, “To have faith is to believe,” as the catechism teaches, or “to have faith is to trust.” I’m going to ask you to think about the other non-religious ways we use the word faith because I think that would be helpful. Have you ever heard of a “good faith estimate,” or to act, “in good faith.” These uses of the word faith speak of relationship. To act in good faith, is to act in right- relationship. No shenanigans here. A good faith estimate was traditionally given when buying a home. It lays out all the costs that are included in the total cost of a home. It says, “I’m on the up and up. We’re good. You have my word.”
Stay with me here…you see, belief and trust are not synonyms for faith, I am suggesting that they are products of faith. Faith itself is our relationship with the unseen God. And because I am in a relationship with God I trust in the promises of God and all that God has revealed, and I trust that God has my back at all times, and I have peace in this life because the God of the universe is my friend. We’re good. That’s why Hebrews 11:1 reads, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for, and evidence of things unseen.”
To have faith is to finally have what our heart truly longs for heart–to know and be in relationship with its creator. That’s what Saint Augustine taught, “Our hearts were made for you, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” That’s faith. And faith is the evidence of things unseen. One of my students once called me years after having him in class. He asked, “Mr. Valgos, how do you know that God exists…and don’t say faith!” I said, “Raymond, that’s how you know. When you are in a relationship with God, there can be no doubt about God’s existence.”
If we had even an ounce of faith there is nothing we couldn’t accomplish. We are so far from God. We have so little, and such weak faith. We sound like the prophet Habbukuk, “I cry for help but you do not listen. Why do you let me see ruin? Why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me.” We claim to be people of faith but we forever doubt God’s love for us. We doubt God’s power over the universe. We allow sin to triumph over us, we forget or don’t make time to pray, and we do not adequately support the ministers and ministries of the Church. And as if that were not enough, we then start to talk about what we deserve. We want gold stars. We want to be recognized.
Jesus reminds us what our attitude should be, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.” If we knew the greatness of God, if we had any faith at all, if we had any idea, we would never doubt, never boast in ourselves, and never stop worshiping God–that’s faith. “Lord, increase our faith.”
One thought on “10.2.22 27th S. Homily: Right Relationship”
The humility needed to call on Christ, to seek a more fruitful faith, is contrary to what the world wants from us. But faith calls us to love, and, critically, to forgive. Right relationship has us seeking what is eternal over what is worldly. Thanks, Deacon for this lesson.
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